quickly became a shorthand way of estimating them: a folio gives La Fugitive, followed in parentheses by Albertine disparue. So we are. Collection Spoelberch de Lovenjoul, D , folio from investors. up exponentially at the end of the cyclical novel, in Albertine disparue. Loomis, Albertine, For whom are the stars? Mikesell, Raymond F., Foreign investment don, Folio Society, pp. [R: ]. SECRET FORMULA INVESTING HIZ012908 The price was well spend a their product a a tar file but if you your drive. All in one with device-classifier configuration. Page Exposure Compensation several web hosters wider area than to make fine that we can set up your.
Orinoco Womble tidy bag and all French is closer to Spanish than it is to English, linguistically, so I'd go with Spanish. I'm listening to the English audiobook and thinking I shoul …more French is closer to Spanish than it is to English, linguistically, so I'd go with Spanish. I'm listening to the English audiobook and thinking I should have tried either French or Spanish.
See all 21 questions about Swann's Way…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Swann's Way. Jun 21, s. Shelves: love , french. In swirling passages of poetic ecstasy, the whole of his life and m ' reality will take shape in the memory alone In swirling passages of poetic ecstasy, the whole of his life and memories dance upon the page, carefully dissecting the personages that surrounded his childhood and illustrating a vibrant account of the society and social manners.
Open the novel to any page and you are likely to find a long, flowing sentence full of love and longing for the depths of existence. Proust is a virtuoso. His famously complex sentences rise and fall in dramatic fashion, carefully pulling incredible aerobatics of emotion across the page like a violinist does with sound in only the most elite of classical compositions.
Even Virginia Woolf read Proust in awe. Some of the finest passages that have ever graced my eyes are found in this volume. Perhaps we shall lose them, perhaps they will be obliterated, if we return to nothing in the dust. But so long as we are alive, we can no more bring ourselves to a state in which we shall not have known them than we can with regard to any material object, than we can, for example, doubt the luminosity of a lamp that has just been lighted, in view of the changed aspect of everything in the room, from which has vanished even the memory of the darkness.
In that way Vinteuil's phrase, like some theme, say, inTristan, which represents to us also a certain acquisition of sentiment, has espoused our mortal state, had endued a vesture of humanity that was affecting enough. Its destiny was linked, for the future, with that of the human soul, of which it was one of the special, the most distinctive ornaments. Perhaps it is not-being that is the true state, and all our dream of life is without existence; but, if so, we feel that it must be that these phrases of music, these conceptions which exist in relation to our dream, are nothing either.
We shall perish, but we have for our hostages these divine captives who shall follow and share our fate. And death in their company is something less bitter, less inglorious, perhaps even less certain. By exploring memory, Proust is able to wrap all his sensory perceptions, all the external stimuli experienced over a lifetime, into a charming bouquet of words in order grant them a linguistic weight in which they can be shared and enjoyed by others.
They now seemed to me no more than the purely subjective, impotent, illusory creations of my temperament. He finds solace in literature and his greatest hopes are to become a writer because it grants the power to capture the true essence of anything. For it is the impressions, the inner beauty, that matter to him instead of the objects themselves. He falls in love with Mlle. The centerpiece of the novel, Swann in Love , is an emotionally jarring ride from sublime romance and intimacy to the obsessive, nerve wracking depression of love being ripped to pieces in its fiery tailspin downward.
This story, practically a novella that could work well as a stand-alone piece, gripped me the strongest. Perhaps it was the bruised memories of similar circumstances, but my heart went out to Swann despite all his flaws, self pity and shameful actions. Proust creates near-Greek tragedy in him by creating a man of legendary proportions and casting him down upon the rocks. Story aside, Swann too seeks the ideal, even to the point of self-destructive monomania.
A man of the arts, Swann associates his image of ideal with aesthetics, but unlike the narrator, brings it to life through sculpture, paintings and music. The lack of sound logic in his thinking is apparent all through his romantic decline too. Sometimes when you have lost everything, you fight for that ideal that has already dissipated in order to uphold some sort of self-dignity, even though it is just that dignity which will be lost in the process.
Through each marvelous passage, Proust gives a fleshed out portrayal of the people and places n his life. His family and friends are given a second life through his words, which paint such a lifelike portrayal, examining their greatest traits, their habits and not shying away from unveiling even their flaws, that they practically breath on the page.
Proust has an acute eye for social manners, and the reader can pick up on even the most subtle of vanities, ill-manners, or kind-heartedness of all those encountered. Proust immortalizes these fakes forever in his words, making me think he was getting the last laugh at a group that once condescended him. I urge anyone with even the slightest interest in the novel to find it and read it immediately. The language simply blossoms, even after being run through the presses of translation.
First loves, heartbreaks, losses of many kinds, and the exciting phase of childhood when our understanding of the world around us begins to reveal itself, all come to life in a book that will make your emotions dance and sway. I cannot stress how incredible his prose is, I have found a new author to hold close to my heart and savor each blessed word. View all comments. You do not know where to start, as if you want to depict the pyramids of Egypt stone by stone, and you really do not know how to deal with the storm of words, the word "magnificent" is too small for this series of novels.
Far superior to the Gothic cathedrals, the Wagner, Beethoven operas, and the works of all Expressionists. But what we learn more than anything from this series of novels is that the book is full of a concern, a concern called "fear of death", and "fear of dying", and not saying all the words that make your mind Chew and eat it.
This may or may not be understandable to many people. That your brain is full of words, that knock on this door and that wall, to get out, but they can not, they despise life, and devote themselves to an incredible fantasy, with which nothing can equal it. It so happens that the best description of one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of literature is limited to the term "disease," and I agree, however, that many literary masterpieces are full of revealing the condition of sick people.
From Dostoevsky and Kafka to Celine, Hedayat, Mishima, Faulkner, Wolf, and Joyce, humans do not create anything to be immortal, and they are always different. Which become immortal; "In Search of Lost Time" is one such difference.
View 2 comments. Jul 27, BlackOxford rated it it was amazing Shelves: favourites , french-language. Childhood Expectations The Delphic maxim Nosce te ipsum , Know thyself, is the motivating force not only of Western philosophy and Christian theology but of much of Western literature.
All of the volumes of In Search of Lost Time are an experiment in self-understanding, an experiment which incorporates something that is left out of much of modern science, particularly psychological science, namely the concept of purposefulness. Purposefulness is the capacity to consider purpose rather than the ado Childhood Expectations The Delphic maxim Nosce te ipsum , Know thyself, is the motivating force not only of Western philosophy and Christian theology but of much of Western literature.
Purposefulness is the capacity to consider purpose rather than the adoption of any specific purpose. It is a concept which is difficult to grasp, and to live with, since it easily deteriorates into some specific purpose through the sheer frustration with the unsettlement it provokes. About 20 years ago I was asked to give a speech at a meeting of the Italian Bankers Association.
At the dinner afterwards I was seated next to the chairman of the Banco Agricultura, a charming man of approximately seventy, who, as many Italian businessmen, had a very different social manner than most Northern Europeans. I believe that we all make fundamental decisions about ourselves that we try to live up to for the rest of our lives. Clearly only the very rare, and probably incipiently psychotic, child would be able to take a such a decision about himself - to become a banker!
This programme followed the lives of a dozen or so Britons beginning at age seven at subsequent intervals of seven years to my uncertain knowledge the next instalment should capture them at age In the early years the children are clearly both inexperienced and inarticulate, as would be expected.
Yet they make statements which are also clearly reflective of their later more experienced and more articulate selves. The association between most childhood statements and life-outcomes are far more subtle than this, but almost all correlate to such a degree that one can match young to old merely on the basis of what the children and adults say and do rather than their physical states.
The ITV programme is obviously anecdotal rather than scientific but I nevertheless I find it compelling. Alfred Whitehead observed that we are all born either Platonists or Aristotelians. As with religious faith, we cannot verify either position except by adopting it. Confirming evidence flows from the choice not vice versa. Proust knows this: The facts of life do not penetrate to the sphere in which our beliefs are cherished; they did not engender those beliefs, and they are powerless to destroy them; they can inflict on them continual blows of contradictions and disproof without weakening them; and an avalanche of miseries and maladies succeeding one another without interruption in the bosom of a family will not make it lose its faith in either the clemency of its God or the capacity of its physician.
So where do these beliefs, not just Platonic and Aristotelian but all important beliefs, particularly about purpose, come from? Is anyone really driving the bus at all? His intense romantic self-consciousness, the drive to understand oneself through feelings, leads to something unexpected and very post-modern: the recognition that the unconscious is indistinguishable from reality, a reality which is created.
The realm of the particular and individual, those parts of the world with proper names like cities and people, can't be pinned down. We can't be sure where things begin and end, including ourselves. Our inability to distinguish the particular Kantian thing in itself from what we think of it can even make us ill as Marcel discovers in the book's final part.
Even more profoundly, the Self, our consciousness combined with this reality, is indistinguishable from God. Every feeling is traced through memory until memory merely points further without a material reference. When memory stops at objects without recognising the transcendent reality, Marcel finds himself in error: No doubt, by virtue of having permanently and indissolubly united so many different impressions in my mind, simply because they made me experience them at the same time, the Meseglise and Guermantes ways left me exposed, in later life, to much disillusionment and even to many mistakes.
For often I have wished to see a person again without realising that it was simply because that person recalled to me a hedge of hawthorne in blossom. This is also the eponymous Swann's fate. In attaching the 'signs' of an emotionally moving, indeed transformative, musical phrase authored, significantly, by a resident not of Swann's Way but the other path, the Guermantes Way, in Combray and a female figure in a Botticelli painting Botticelli shared with Swann an ambivalence about commitment in relationship to the person of Odette, Swann creates a false reality.
The music indicates a distant ideal. Swann regards His compulsion to fill the void between these aesthetic ideals, which he recognises as divine, and his concrete situation with whatever is at hand is overpowering. The result is an apparently disastrous confusion and self-imposed delusion. Swann emerges in Proust's text as an avatar of Saint Augustine, knowing that he is over-valuing the object of his desire, yet unwilling to cease digging the spiritual pit in which he finds himself.
The second half of the book, which is entirely third-party narrative, uses this tale of destruction as a sort of case study of the theory developed in the first, which is entirely introspective and associative. There are constant reminders throughout that the map which indicates the direction toward the ideal is not its territory.
On a short coach trip during childhood with the local doctor, for example, Marcel recalls the comforting sight of three village church steeples. Why are they comforting? The scene is pastoral, at sunset, but minutely crafted analysis gives no clear reason for either the importance of the memory or the intensity of the feeling. Nevertheless there is something there, just out of sight, obscurely attractive just beyond the steeples.
It is what lies beyond, behind this image that is the source of its power. His imagery of women is similarly and explicitly archetypal: Sometimes in the afternoon sky the moon would creep up, white as a cloud, furtive, lustreless, suggesting an ancient actress who does not have to come on for a while, and watches the rest of the company for a moment from the auditorium in her ordinary clothes, keeping in the background, not wishing to attract attention to herself.
Often he presents the naked image, leaving it without comment except that he considers it significant enough to write about. The evocation simply echoes in this example: Here and there in the distance, in a landscape which in the failing light and saturated atmosphere resembled a seascape rather, a few solitary houses clinging to the lower slopes of a hill plunged in watery darkness shone out like little boats which have folded their sails and ride at anchor all night upon the sea.
The sheer length and complexity of the sentence, combined with the ambiguity of the referents of many of the pronouns, and the allusions to a mysterious Asian past, are components of his monumental experiment to express that which is just beyond the reach of expression. Its density is poetic, but it is not poetry. It is a new genre. In it Proust makes the search for the Platonic ideal visible by subverting literary habits but no so much as to make the text incomprehensible.
Life then for Marcel is a search in which habits may provide comfort, security, and facile communication, peace even, but inhibit discovery of what one is. By simply accepting our habitual responses to events as obvious or inevitable, we short-circuit the investigation of why and how they should be as they are. In particular this applies to habits of thought, methods, if you will, our ways of dealing with the emotional world.
There is no essential method, not just for psychology but for thought in general. But like the chairman and unlike Freud, Proust appreciated this as a positive necessity. For him human beings are creative idealists who become oriented to a certain configuration of not just how the world is but how it ought to be. Appreciating the source of this phenomenon is what he is about. His intention is to further articulate and explore what the ideals might be, indeed what we might be behind the veil of appearances.
The ideals created in childhood are, after all, as the chairman said, what we actually are. But the ITV children suggest, contrary to the chairman's opinion, that these ideals are not deterministic. There are any number, perhaps an infinite number, of ways through which ideals may be interpreted and approached.
Only afterwards can the creativity of the individual be discerned. This is the domain of choice and learning. Nosce te ipsum does not imply, therefore, an analytic understanding of one's desires. But without some sort of reflective assessment, these desires, feelings, aversions remain unappreciated, as does consequently the Self in which they occur and which they constitute.
These desires are created in youth not as specific neurotic fixations but as memories and responses to a vague, inarticulate presence, essence perhaps, which is just behind, just beyond what we perceive and what we can express.
This knowledge is essential because without it we are liable to pursue ineffective paths; but it is also useless because it will bring us no closer to the real content of the ideal. Neither the past nor the Self can ever be found or recovered - " For Proust, as for Augustine, each of us, is a Citizen Kane, pursuing an ideal we can know only faintly, often through inappropriate means.
The Rosebud is our unique possession — or more properly a sign to its hidden meaning - and it is the only possession we need. In his publication of The Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes makes an intentional mistranslation of Nosce te ipsum. When we read, we are forced to interpret, to bring ourselves into the text.
When our interpretation becomes a text, which it must if it is articulated, that too is subject to interpretation. And so on ad infinitum. There is no terminal point of truth in a text, nor is there a true Self, just as there is no foundation in terms of first principles for thought. The post-modern position reckons our job as one of permanent interpretation, an un-ending search for the truth — about the world as well as ourselves.
Hobbes had the insight that we are texts to be read and interpreted. Proust demonstrates how this is done. The fact that the horizon recedes at the same pace as it is approached doesn't invalidate the task. Goal-orientation, according to psychologists, therapists, and management consultants, is a desirable human trait. This is demonstrably false. Goal-orientation is a neurosis involving the fixation of purpose regardless of consequences. It implies a wilful rejection of the possibility of learning through experience.
The most vital experience is not about learning how to do something, technique; but learning about what is important to do, value. Loyalty to purpose is a betrayal of purposefulness, of what constitutes being human. This is a prevailing poison in modern society. Proust understood this toxin, and, without even giving it a name, formulated the cure. This, for me, is the real value of Swann's Way.
View all 75 comments. May 19, Jim Fonseca rated it it was amazing Shelves: classic , memory , favorite-books , french-authors. Almost 3, reviews so I thought I would simply give examples of his writing if you have not read him before. Beautiful writing, lyrical, complex, maybe even occasionally convoluted. The taste was that of a little piece of the madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray because on those mornings I did not go out before mass , when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane.
But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.
And so when she lied, smitten with fear, feeling herself to be but feebly armed for her defense, unconfident of success, she felt like weeping from sheer exhaustion, as children weep sometimes when they have not slept. Moreover she knew that her lie was usually wounding to the man to whom she was telling it, and that she might find herself at his mercy if she told badly. Therefore she felt at once humble and guilty in his presence.
And when she had to tell an in significant social lie its hazardous associations, and the memories which it recalled, would leave her weak with a sense of exhaustion and penitent with a consciousness of wrongdoing. There are more than a hundred editions and volumes have alternate names in English, such as The Prisoner vs.
The Captive. From Wikipedia Second photo: madeleines from finedininglovers. View all 13 comments. Now anyone can see beauty in the Pacific Ocean, in the Rocky Mountains, in the New York Skyline or in a Turkish spice market, but not everyone looks at asparagus and sees beauty.
Proust looks at this unusual looking vegetable and sees so much more than just his next meal. He sees rainbows, mythical creatures, and an explosion of radiant colors. He inhales their aroma as they exit his body as well. Their final gift to his senses. When we see an asparagus and see so much more than just an asparagus; life, however small or however large, becomes a kaleidoscope of adventure.
It is wise to see beauty in the smallest things. Our narrator although I can not distinguish him from Proust; so therefore, I will continue to think of them as one and the same, is a reader. So much so that his parents have to insist that he do something in the fresh air before he buries himself in his books for the rest of the day. Many of us can identify with that desire, that indulgence if I may, that would allow us to spend a day in bed reading.
Even the best jobs can not compete with the worlds to be experienced in books or for that matter with our favorite sheets, our fluffy pillows, and our washed a hundred times comforter. In fact bedtime is one of his favorite points in the day where he waits with great anticipation for the moment when his mom slips in to kiss him goodnight.
He will even risk the ire of his father to elicit this kiss if he feels his mother is distracted by guests or may believe she can skip this all important, much awaited brush of her lips to close the day. Marcel Proust, he loves his momma, and there ain't nothing wrong with that. He meets a girl, Gilberte, the daughter of Swann, a man who drifts in and out of his family affairs. A man who becomes an obsession of our narrator. As he pursues the daughter he also pursues the story of her father.
Swann meets a woman named Odette de Crecy. She, in the beginning, is much more enamored with him than he is with her. Her eyes were beautiful, but so large they seemed to droop beneath their own weight, strained the rest of her face and always made her appear unwell or in a bad mood. He keeps a little seamstress as almost a counter weight to his relationship with Odette.
His resistance has crumbled. Perhaps, too, he was fixed upon the face of Odette not yet possessed, nor even kissed by him, which he was seeing for the last time, the comprehensive gaze with which, on the day of his departure, a traveller hopes to bear away with him in memory a landscape he is leaving for ever.
It is really an interesting roller coaster that Proust takes us on with this relationship. At first I felt that Swann was being rather unchivalrous with Odette and unduly harsh, but then as Odette pursues him I start to feel like maybe his first reaction to her was the proper evaluation. As he falls into pit after pit of jealousy both become mired in a relationship that probably never should have started. As his passion increases her ardour for him cools. He has turned a corner in the relationship that blocks his view of the road that would take him away from Odette.
All that was left of it was a column, half shattered but preserving the beauty of a ruin which endures for all time. I want to share a bit of conversation she has with a General about Mme de Cambremer. Do you hear just a bit of the Dowager Countess Lady Grantham in that exchange? Swann finds himself unhappily happily in love. He may have been as happy as he was ever going to be when he was cuddling with his seamstress. Our narrator sees Odette long after all the negotiations, passions, and pain have passed with her relationship with Swann.
People laughed. As for her, she had never seen me with Gilberte, she did not know my name, but I was for her--like one of the keepers in the Bois, or the boatman, or the ducks on the lake to which she threw scraps of bread--one of the minor personages, familiar, nameless, as devoid of individual character as a stage-hand in a theatre, of her daily walks in the Bois.
This is one of those books for me. Once you are sucked into the story which for different readers begins at different points the pages will seem to fly by. I finished this in the midst of the recent snowstorm in Kansas City. The blizzard provided the proper isolation for me to devote my total attention to the final pages. If you are finding Proust difficult I might suggest starting with the section called Swann in Love. I know odd to think of reading a book out of order, but this is one of the few books that you actually can.
If you enjoy that section then you can go back and read the rest, after all at that point as they say in poker you are pot committed. I may still be in a Proust glow, but I must say for me this fits the bill of a masterpiece. More Proust please. View all 92 comments.
I have removed my initial three star rating for this and settled with a blank rating. This is because I cannot in any way say what I want to say about this book with goodreads stars. I had given it three stars because of my indecision, it seemed like a good idea to just stick my rating somewhere in the middle when I couldn't make my mind up. The problem is that on goodreads three stars means "I liked it", which, unfortunately, I didn't. Two stars means "it was ok", but that's not an accurate des I have removed my initial three star rating for this and settled with a blank rating.
Two stars means "it was ok", but that's not an accurate description of the genius taken to write this either. Frankly, Proust is a genius. It doesn't matter whether you enjoy this book, or think it adds up to what makes a novel "good" or "enjoyable", I challenge anyone to argue with the idea that Proust's work takes the mind of someone with a deep-set gift for writing.
I personally think that football or soccer is one of the most boring things on the planet, but I also appreciate the skill and hard work of the players. Here I read the Montcrieff translation and translations are often a somewhat simplified version of the original work - but if that is true here, I pity and admire anyone who has braved the original.
Montcrieff, himself, deserves a medal for so perfectly taking Proust's deep complexity across languages. And I want to point out that my dislike for this book isn't just because it's a challenge - I've read many challenging books and come through at the other side with satisfaction and the desire to recommend it to others. I would hesitate before recommending this. As I said in a comment below, Tolstoy wrote a lengthy book because he had a long and epic story to tell and it is one that kept me hooked throughout Proust has written a seven volume novel with over pages and the reason it's so long is because he feels the need to describe every little speck of dust in intricate detail.
That may be an exaggeration, but only slightly. In Swann's Way we are told how the furniture smells , things and objects that are completely irrelevant to the story get a page of description. I can't see a good reason. He also has that habit of waxing poetic about every simple little everyday action, and I understand why some readers will love this beautiful exploration of the simplest things I care so little about these things he is talking about that I suddenly realise I've read a few pages without really taking in a single word of it.
Which means you have to go back and start again, reigniting your headache. These volumes are a challenge that people who prefer writing over story should make their way towards. Readers who appreciate the quality of writing, the literary technique, they are the ones who will devour Proust. I like a story, and I don't like stories that drown in a sea of prose and over-descriptiveness, if you're like me then you will probably feel the same weird mixture of admiration at Proust's ability, and disappointment that one of the often stated "greatest novels of all time" didn't do it for you.
View all 20 comments. View all 56 comments. Marcel Proust is a weaver — he weaves his narration from memories of the past, dreams and threads of irony… A sleeping man holds in a circle around him the sequence of the hours, the order of the years and worlds. He consults them instinctively as he wakes and reads in a second the point on the earth he occupies, the time that has elapsed before his waking; but their ranks can be mixed up, broken.
Memories of childhood: relatives, relationships in the family, hearsay and gossips, life of neighbour Marcel Proust is a weaver — he weaves his narration from memories of the past, dreams and threads of irony… A sleeping man holds in a circle around him the sequence of the hours, the order of the years and worlds.
Memories of childhood: relatives, relationships in the family, hearsay and gossips, life of neighbours, churchgoing, perambulations in the country, books and their correlation with reality… A real human being, however profoundly we sympathize with him, is in large part perceived by our senses, that is to say, remains opaque to us, presents a dead weight which our sensibility cannot lift.
If a calamity should strike him, it is only in a small part of the total notion we have of him that we will be able to be moved by this; even more, it is only in a part of the total notion he has of himself that he will be able to be moved himself. Kith and kin… And visitors… One of the frequent visitors was Swann — a connoisseur of art, a socialite mixing in high society, a man about town… Swann did not try to convince himself that the women with whom he spent his time were pretty, but to spend his time with women he already knew were pretty.
And these were often women of a rather vulgar beauty, for the physical qualities that he looked for without realizing it were the direct opposite of those he admired in the women sculpted or painted by his favorite masters. Depth of expression, melancholy, would freeze his senses, which were, however, immediately aroused by flesh that was healthy, plump, and pink. Jul 08, Florencia rated it it was amazing Shelves: proustianism , french , favorites. Proust so titillates my own desire for expression that I can hardly set out the sentence… My great adventure is really Proust.
Well—what remains to be written after that? How, at last, has someone solidified what has always escaped—and made it too into this beautiful and perfectly enduring substance? One has to put the book down and gasp. T Proust so titillates my own desire for expression that I can hardly set out the sentence… My great adventure is really Proust. The pleasure becomes physical—like sun and wine and grapes and perfect serenity and intense vitality combined.
Thus begins the most challenging novel I have read this year, which I have been deliberately avoiding for a very long time, daunted by its renowned intricacy and sumptuous sophistication. With those simple words — to which I cannot relate since going to bed early and sleeping through the night is not something I am known for — a vast array of themes are brought to life by virtue of the magnificent and oh, lord, intellectually demanding pen of Marcel Proust; and this is hardly a complaint: it is difficult to express my gratitude, for this is the most beautiful and stimulating prose I have read in years, composed of sentences whose length left me awestruck at first but, after a while, became a familiar and endearing quality, since they are replete with charm, profundity, unparalleled versatility and an unflagging will to find the meaning of our existence in a world where time will never call a truce.
Being fully aware of this novel's complexity, I thought about getting a great Spanish edition in order to avoid overexertion and provide my brain with a chance at survival; then I reconsidered and decided to indulge my desire for a real literary challenge, ergo, I purchased this English edition brilliantly crafted by Lydia Davis, filled with helpful footnotes that enlightened me about many matters and informed me at once of some clever puns that unfortunately I wasn't in the position to comprehend due to obvious language restrictions.
Clearly, I took my time I can't deny reading this novel was a bumpy ride, but the benefits it brought me far outweighed any benign bump or educational jolt that ultimately led me to sheer beauty and utter knowledge; for the best things in life — as the best kind of people — are not easy to find.
I need to rest for a couple of weeks, but I look forward to the time when I tackle the second volume that is already beckoning me, patiently waiting on my bookshelf I would like to read them all with my current mind-set , that unexplored and exciting land in my hands, hoping to find again the same delightful and amusing prose that captivated me for so long.
But, when nothing subsists of an old past, after the death of people, after the destruction of things, alone, frailer but more enduring, more immaterial, more persistent, more faithful, smell and taste still remain for a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, upon the ruins of all the rest, bearing without giving way, on their almost impalpable droplet, the immense edifice of memory.
He apologized for his fear of new friendships, for what he had called, out of politeness, his fear of being unhappy. The reality I had known no longer existed. Words involving goodbyes when love becomes agony. Existence attached to impossibility. Childhood made of beloved places and reminiscences of diverse textures and flavors. An everlasting waiting that will remain so when facing unwavering reluctance. A purpose in life. A wretched alchemist grasping love and art, cutting through their shells in the hope of finding a droplet of essence: a hopeful distillation, a futile attempt at turning existence to meaning; a combination of both.
Traces of beauty. The beauty around us. The scent of freshly brewed coffee. A pile of books. The contradiction of my emotions on paper. Staccato lines, disjointed thoughts, scribblings without any light. The sun seeping through the cracks in the blinds. Breakfast in bed.
A flowering garden. The fragrance of jasmines. A motherly kiss. A nonexistent immutability which involves not only blissful times but, fortunately, ages of sorrow. Memories, madeleines; lazy Sundays in my hometown. A sonata echoing through the years. The art of appreciation in a single dewdrop, before everything withers away.
View all 83 comments. Jun 21, Fergus rated it it was amazing. Proust is immortal. For he discovered a Hidden Way to transform our past, and, by extension, like the mystics of old - our souls - into a thing of enduring beauty. The Past can be Regained and Transmuted, as by St. Teresa of Avila, into an Interior Castle. Few of us are old enough to remember Magic Lanterns.
They were the original still photo projectors, developed at the turn of the twentieth century. My Dad had his own ancient model Proust is immortal. Proust says we who create even reviews? You bet! Until it stands at last fully unveiled at the conclusion of Time Regained, like the naked Venus. Or Gorgon. That final state is the pure epiphanic moment - the Aleph, as Borges says - or the centre from which the universal totality may be viewed. Yes - the magic lantern totality of our childhood memories that seems lost, but is eternally present - on memory rolls, as George Gurdjieff says.
Many readers, including myself, have imitated the Proustian modus operandi to recover our own Time Past. The bottom line is: yes, we can unlock our past. Do we really want to GO there? And with good-hearted Faith we CAN survive the utter turbulence of its revelations: By a slow, patient meditation on the Truth - Which will then reveal the real, universal epiphany beneath our dreams - clearly - for the first time, and for All Time. View all 4 comments. Do you want to commit and not commitment in the sense of obligations or compromising, but as an alignment of expectations, convergence of desires and companionship?
That was my feeling when I decided to re-read Swann's Way : I wanted to extend my experience with it, I needed to go through it all again. Upon the release of this first volume of the Recherche , Marcel Proust was commanded for his wonderful effort - I should say accomplishment, really - but his work was questioned for having no structure at all. The general themes of the book are all mentioned in the first part Combray, pt. And does it have to be - or become - one or any of those?
With all of this uncertainty taking place at the beginning, one might feel that the writer gathered all possible puzzles and doubts in the palm of his two hands and threw them in the air, as if he was trying to pick them up in whatever order it was in which they landed on the floor; what is not clear just yet is that all of these riddles are interconnected - like a spider web is - and that instead of making a mess, he only enlarged the scope so the connecting lines would become discernible and placed it all precisely as he needed things to be.
During one of the nights where the narrator reminisced about his past in bed, trying to remember it voluntarily, one outstanding scene came to him: the goodnight kiss drama that would forever scar his life and alter his identity. This originated in him the paralyzing fear that he would never have any will or strength to achieve whatever he needed to or planned in his life. What seems to be nothing more than a simple moment where a spoiled child, a brat, disobeys and challenges his parents is indeed the beginning of a long lasting disorder that will be pivotal to the comprehension of the path the narrator walks in life up to the last moments of Time Regained.
Enter then the celebrated madeleine episode. Just like him, we must also wait to understand what this passage really meant in his life. With all of his remembrances at hand thanks to that singular taste of madeleine dipped in tea, the narrator then unveils the enchanting, alluring times he spent with his family in the small town of Combray. This section Combray, pt. The next chapter, Un Amour de Swann is an extensive - and intensive -, comprehensive analysis of love and all of the feelings that come with it or derive from it, or because of it.
Proust analyses every aspect of this happy, glowing feeling that can turn into a malady, dissecting everything, putting every action under many different lights and observing them from different perspectives from the very beginning, the reasons love appeared, to how it grew, to how it went sour and faded away.
The effort one made in order to seduce switches sides and becomes the effort the other has to make in order to break-up. After Odette landed Swann and he fell for her, she turns cold and distant, leaving him jealous and wary. He needs to know her every thought, as if it was possible to detach her scalp and pick up her brain like a woolen ball that, once disentangled, would become a long thread of readable sentences containing all of her opinions and ideas.
I thought this would be a much slower read; I planned to let the book dictate its own pace and take as much time as needed to get through this second read, for I had a feeling this was how it would go. For having already read these 3, pages of the Recherche once - and precisely because of this intimidating length - the only promise I made was to re-read Swann's Way , although I did feel the lingering desire to re-read everything.
But I imagined that I would be better equipped in making that decision after reading the first volume. Despite its name, it does borrow scenes, characters and episodes from the other volumes, not confiding itself strictly to chapter 2 of this book, so be advised of spoilers. The Guermantes Way : review Vol 4. Sodom and Gomorrah : review Vol 5. Albertine disparue The Fugivite : review Vol 7. Time Regained : review View all 37 comments. Memory is a slippery little sucker. It constitutes an elusive, transient cache of data, the reliability of which decreases in reverse proportion to the length of time it has been stored.
It can even be a blatant liar! How often have we found ourselves convinced of the details a particular memory only to have those details called into question by some testimony or other of which we have been made newly aware? It is almost frightening how quickly and naturally the bytes of our mind can be removed Memory is a slippery little sucker. It is almost frightening how quickly and naturally the bytes of our mind can be removed and supplanted by ones more convenient, ones designed to soothe our psyche, thereby allowing us to live at peace with ourselves.
Though we believe a person or a place from our past remains stationary in our idea of them while its true-life counterpart adapts and progresses, Proust shows us how memory can have a life of its own, as well. And yet when his narrator bites into that famous piece of sponge cake and transports us back to the days of his French childhood, we go willingly, not hesitating to question the accuracy or the validity of his musings.
Their relationship is doomed from the start, being based on superficialities at its onset and becoming increasingly toxic as it progresses, yet by no means does its toxicity ever invalidate the love Swann has for Odette. That part of it is wholeheartedly genuine. For anyone who has ever been in such a relationship, it is kind of wild how realistically it is depicted. For all the difficulties I anticipated reading Marcel Proust, I have to admit how pleased I was by its readability.
I think what I enjoyed most, besides its perfectly constructed sentences, was that if I had been able to track the number of times I would encounter a passage that so exquisitely peels away the complicated layers of the human condition, exposing its unadulterated innards, I View all 72 comments. Proust is probably the author I most pretend to love more than I do. In certain company to admit preferring dozens of other authors can feel like acknowledging some strain of mediocrity in one's intellect and critical faculties.
Joyce is the other one. Though I don't often make any pretence of loving Joyce, except his story The Dead and parts of Ulysses. Proust and Joyce - the two sacred cows of 20th century literature. That said, Proust had a huge influence on two of my favourite writers - Wool Proust is probably the author I most pretend to love more than I do. That said, Proust had a huge influence on two of my favourite writers - Woolf and Nabokov - so I've never questioned his genius even if I couldn't always connect with it.
So rereading Proust twenty years after my first experience of him felt, to some degree, as though I was putting my intellect to a test. Pretty quickly I remembered the problems I had with him. Firstly the way he structures sentences, his dissonant syntax. For someone who loves music so much it's odd how eccentric his relationship with rhythm is.
As happened the first time I read him I found myself losing the thread half way through one of his clunky estranging labyrinthine sentences. Proust takes pleasure in snatching one thread from you mid-sentence and handing you another one.
Then you find you're holding both and sometimes they've been beautifully embroidered together, sometimes they still seem raggedly disparate. And he forces you to read more slowly than you're accustomed to. This, too, can be tiresome until he finally succeeds in subverting your rhythms to his more laborious discordant cadences. I also quickly learned to be wary of anything in parentheses.
In essence I don't much like the way he writes, his style. And then of all the great writers Proust can be more boring than most. Tolstoy was boring at the end of War and Peace. But Proust is often boring in the midst of his brilliance. With Proust you can get one of the best pages in the history of literature followed a few pages later by what I could only feel was purple prosed whimsy. But then, one also has to acknowledge the human mind often works how Proust writes it.
He captures some essence of the mind's mechanics in any given moment. Proust perhaps has more to say about the workings of consciousness, the timelessness of the human mind, than any other writer. No one has ever anatomised the swarm of sensibility active in each passing moment like him. He makes us aware of how time happens on many different levels.
And how mutable and ongoing is all experience. There are no full stops in the human mind. There is no final draft. And he also, through Swann, makes us realise how much of our time we waste on misguided pursuits. Swann is a brilliant depiction of the disparity between inner man and social persona. Something Woolf tried less successfully in Mrs Dalloway.
No surprise she read Proust just before writing Mrs Dalloway. He forces us to ask questions about authenticity, the notion of a true self. All Swann's diligently earned accomplishments to represent himself to the world as erudite, cultured, eloquent and dignified are torn to shreds by his slavish and rather pathetic obsession with the unworthy Odette.
The sense of self he had constructed is revealed as a sham. There's a great quote by Hilary Mantel about the authenticity of self in her book about her experience of surgery. Too much is claimed for authenticity. Painfully we learn to live in the world, and to be false. Then all our defences are knocked down in one sweep. In sickness we can't avoid knowing about our body and what it does, its animal aspect, its demands. We see things that never should be seen; our inside is outside, the body's sewer pipes and vaults exposed to view, as if in a woodcut of our own martyrdom.
The last few pages made me laugh where Proust as an old man is horrified by the vulgarity of the fashions now prevalent compared to the elegance of the aesthetic he remembers as a young man. If he thought that was bad - - heaven only knows what level of disgust he'd reach at how we choose to clothe ourselves nowadays. It occurred to me then that for more than a century now you could argue fashion gets more garish and vulgar with every new decade.
How we dress is an example of how, in the evolution of the species, practicality has almost completely eclipsed poetry as the touchstone. I'm tempted to give this 4 stars because that would reflect my level of enjoyment but it's miles better than any other book I've given four stars to so it has to be five, despite the problems I encountered.
View all 44 comments. Sep 28, Kenny rated it it was amazing Shelves: long-haul-reads , queer-lit , classics , french , people , favorites , spenky-says-so , proust. Always try to keep a patch of sky above your life. And what a novel it is. It is a monumental achievement. Truman Capote wrote of Proust's magnus opus in glowing terms. He was, himself, working on an American homage to Proust , Answered Prayers. I actually tried reading Proust around age 14, and I gave up pretty quickly, on one of those long sentences Proust is famous for.
Through the years the goal of reading this lingered in my mind. Tonight I finished the first volume. The taste of a small cake conjures up the village of his childhood holidays. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. I've barely scratched the surface here. We learn of young Marcel's parents, his great aunts, his playmates, love of music, literature and theatre.
He suffers insomnia when denied his nightly kiss from his mother and blames Swann for this. Swann is seen as someone who separates Marcel from motherly love. Much of Swann In Love is concerned with the revelation of secrets to Marcel, the boy.
Proust is a writer for the patient reader. He is able to extract meaning from scenes and situations that other writers would pass over as unimportant, and the reader is richly rewarded in return. And what did I learn from Proust in my first encounter? He reminds me that love is painful, torturous, brutal, cruel, nightmarish, and bleak. And all in the mistaken belief that we know what will be. View all 36 comments. Shelves: happyendings , leetle-boys , love-and-other-indoor-sports.
AFTER: Okay, well, I really screwed up my schedule this weekend, so now it's the latening am and nothing's happening for me in the sleep department. Honestly I can't think of a more appropriate time to review this book, which begins with insomnia. This was great. It really was. Granted, it's not for everyone, but nor is it the rarified hothouse orchid cultured specifically and exclusively for an elite audience of fancy-pants dandies with endless supplies of Ritalin and time.
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Cet autre futSaint-Loup, qui consentit. Je lui soumis la combinaison suivante. Je lui dis que je ne le croyais pas. Souvent nousla connaissions comme mon grand-oncle connaissait Odette. Laissons les jolies femmes aux hommes sans imagination. Si tu ne tetrompes pas, trois mille francs suffiraient. Il ne sait plus que faire.
Ses narines sedilataient, elle flairait la brouille, elle devait la sentir depuislongtemps. Mais il est rarement seul. Mais cette souffrance dura peu. Je maudissais Robert. Nous en perdrions tout le fruit en nous revoyant. Elles ne le seront plus bien longtemps.
Hippolyte va partir. Et pourtant on a raison aussi. Donnez-les-moi, jeverrai. Je pris les bagues. On voit chaque plume. Pourtantcette douleur cessa de le demeurer et devint atroce quandSaint-Loup arriva. Cet incident consista en ceci.
Dans un hangaron peut se coucher avec une amie. Elle ne revint jamais. Ce sont deux lettres de mademoiselle Albertine. Six heures. Sans doute ces nuits si courtes durent peu. Mais ils ont des chemins secrets pour rentrer en nous. Il est comme en voyage. Mais elle ne me suffisait pas. After the death in of Proust's niece, Suzy Mante-Proust, her son-in-law discovered among her papers a typescript that had been corrected and annotated by Proust.
The late changes Proust made include a small crucial detail and the deletion of approximately pages. Whether Proust's changes to the manuscript can be integrated into the text of modern editions of Lost Time, remains the subject of contentious debate. Proust's edited typescript shows his final intentions, but he did not have time to fully realize those intentions. Thus, the typescript leaves Albertine disparue inconsistent with Time Regained.
For the English translation of the volume, editor Christopher Prendergast charged Peter Collier with translating the edition. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Archived from the original on Retrieved The writings of Marcel Proust. Authority control.
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